While taking care of your car is unquestionably important to make sure that it lasts for a long time, there are a number of pitfalls that people fall into when taking care of their cars. It may be neglecting one area over another, or perhaps even performing regular car maintenance service incorrectly, causing additional problems that could lead to expensive auto repair costs down the road. We certainly applaud the drive and the DIY spirit of those who decide to manage their own car maintenance service, instead of entrusting it to their local auto shop, but there are a few common mistakes that are made in this situation which sometimes can cause big (and expensive problems). So, we made a list of the top 5 car maintenance mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Oil changes are important, but a real car maintenance service is more than that. (photo by Jesse Wagstaff via Flickr)
Oil changes are important, but a real car maintenance service is more than that. (photo by Jesse Wagstaff via Flickr)
  1. Car Maintenance is More Than Regular Oil Changes
  • There are many people, who think of one thing and one thing only when they hear the words car maintenance service: the oil change. While changing your oil is very important, because dirty or worn out oil can put a lot of stress on your engine and eventually even result in a number of necessary auto repair needs, it is not the only part of regular maintenance. You also need to make sure you check things like your lights, windshield wipers, other fluids, brakes and more. Don’t neglect the rest of your car and focus only on the oil or you could pay the cost down the road in increased auto repair bills at your local auto shop.
  • Using The Wrong Motor Oil
    • This is a big one. Make sure that you consult your vehicle’s owners manual before you purchase and use any motor oil. Oil is graded by quality and viscosity. Make sure that you get the right kind for you vehicle and for the season.
  • Avoiding That Auto Repair
    • Here’s a simple tip for you. If you are driving and your ‘check engine light’ comes on, don’t think “Oh, I’m sure it will be fine,” and keep on driving until your car literally breaks down on the highway. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and head to your nearest local auto shop and get a recommendation for any auto repair that your car may need.
  • Using The Wrong Octane Fuel
    • This can also wreak havoc on your engine. Have you ever noticed that when you are fueling up there is more than one nozzle at each pump? Those numbers above are an indication of the fuel’s octane rating. Some cars, (typically luxury or high-performance vehicles) require a higher octane rating than the cheapest fuel. If you fail to put the correct octane fuel in your vehicle you will quickly be spending a lot more on auto repair than you have saved in going for the cheaper low-octane gas. That said, if your car doesn’t require a higher-octane fuel, go ahead and get the regular, otherwise you will likely be wasting money at the pump.
  • Not Getting Brakes Checked Regularly
    • This should be a no-brainer. One of the biggest reasons to stop into your local auto shop for a regular car maintenance service and tune-up is to have the brakes checked. If the brake pads are worn and need to be replaced, that is something that you will want to do right away. I’m sure we don’t have to tell you that brakes are somewhat important when driving a car. We all like to go, but if you can’t stop you’ve got big problems.